By: Dr. Kaviraj Khialani- Celebrity Master Chef.
The Food and Hospitality Industry has always stepped up on a very positive note when it comes to making moments and occasions like these special for our valued guests and food lovers! A lot of hotels and restaurants plan up special menus with the tri-coloured theme attached to suit the Independence day!
There is a décor and ambience created in the outlets to add that look and feel experience to make the auspicious day all the more patriotic and the feeling of pride which every indian carries on this day is just incomparable. Independence day theme related welcome drinks, display pieces from fruit and vegetable carvings, spice and salt displays, margarine carvings etc have also been spotted as a part of presenting the menu for the day in a very appealing and impressive manner.
Buffets, special a la carte offers, table promotions, tent card delights, live counters, chefs special offerings, mocktail bar specials are some of the attractions which see a houseful of food lovers visiting the food outlets to celebrate the day with family and friends. In India, the term “tricolour” refers to the Indian national flag.
The National flag of India is a horizontal tricolour of deep saffron (kesari) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The design of the flag of India that was first presented in 1921 to Late Shri. Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the All-India Congress, was created by Pingali Venkayya. The Chakra or the wheel also symbolizes the Power of the State governed by Dharma.
It is also called the tiranga or tricolour. The National Flag is a horizontal tricolour of India saffron (kesari) at the top, white in the middle and India green at the bottom in equal proportion. The ratio of width of the flag to its length is two to three. In the centre of the white band is a navy-blue wheel which represents the chakra. The top saffron colour, indicates the strength and courage of the country.
The white middle band indicates peace and truth with Dharma Chakra. The green shows the fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land. Food is also one of the important elements associated with the tricolour and as we represent various meanings and values via colors it not only pleases the senses and whets the appetite but also creates wonderful concoctions and makes our culinary diaspora more rich and varied from indian cooking to international it gives a sense of brotherhood and togetherness creating a melange of flavours, tastes and balance.
Here are a few of my favorite easy to make recipes with a mix-n- match touch of twist on this auspicious occasion on the eve of our 75th year of Independence. Traditionally Indian sweets are called ‘Mithai’. It is an old tradition of considering sweets to be pure and an offering to the gods. Sweets are a small gesture of greeting people, family, and friends with the joy of celebrating the festival.
The origin of sweets in the Indian subcontinent has been traced to at least 500 BCE when, records suggest, both raw sugar (Gur, vellum, jaggery) and refined sugar (Sarkara) were being produced. By 300 BCE, kingdom officials in India were acknowledging five variants of sugar which could be used in making sweets and mithai.
As we are aware that mithai, a Hindi word for sweets made with a combination of flour, sugar, nuts, legumes, and milk or khoya (a semi-solid dairy product made by slowly boiling milk until it thickens), and then often enhanced with cardamom, rose water, or
saffron. While most of us have our own favorites when it comes to selecting one or more option in sweets from the kaju katli, mava pedha, ghevar, gujiyas, lavang latika, rossogulla, Sandesh, Mohanthal, karanji, modak. The list of sweet temptations goes on! Indians refer to their sweet dishes as mithai, and each one has its own unique flavor profile.
Indian desserts are commonly made with humble ingredients like sugar, flour, nuts, milk, and legumes. One of the sweetest and popular sweets include Gulab Jamun from west to east and north to south Gulab Jamuns are one of the most favourite Indian sweet dishes due to its silky texture, its dripping sugar syrup and its soft crust.
“Festivity and Mithai to me are two culinary synonyms which compliment well each other to the extent making it imperative to have a bite at-least of indulgence in the sweet treats to make the occasion and moments special & memorable with family & friends”-Chef Kaviraj Khialani- Celebrity Master Chef.
Here are a few festive indian Sweets and Mithai to try out in your Home Kitchens:
Recipe-1] LADOO KI MITHAAS
Besan/ gram flour- 2 cups
Powdered sugar-1 cup
Green Cardamom powder-1/2 tsp
Cashews-2-3 tsp fine chopped
Raisins-2-3 tsp fine chopped
- Assemble all the ingredients for the besan ke ladoo recipe.
- Using a thick bottomed pan, dry roast the besan for a few mins around 8-10 mins.
- Now add in the ghee and continue stirring on a low flame and continue roasting the besan for another 3-4 mins. Once the ghee starts being visible and oozes out from the sides during the slow roasting of the gram flour, turn off the flame.
- Remove the roasted besan mixture onto a steel plate/cooling surface and immediately add in the sugar, green cardamom powder and mix well, add in the nuts as well.
- Form up the mixture into a medium soft texture mass and divide them into lemon sized balls and shape them into neat rounds. Allow them to cool down, serve them in fancy paper cups etc/ store in airtight containers.
Recipe- 2] DIL SE DIL TAK MITHAI
Besan- 300 gms
Ghee- 3 tsp
Salted butter/ ghee- 300gm
Green cardamom powder- ¾ tsp
Saffron- 5-8 strands
Pinch of edible orange food color- optional
Almonds- 2-3 tsp finely sliced
Pista/ cashews- 2-3 tsp, finely sliced
For the sugar syrup:
Grain sugar- 400 gms
Water- 275 ml
- Prepare all the ingredients for the Mohanthal recipe.
- Place the chickpea flour in a large bowl. Add the melted ghee and milk. Stir well and then begin to rub the mixture together using your fingertips to form a sandy-texture. This similar to how you would rub butter with flour to create a crumble. Set this aside for 30 minutes. This mixture will give the Mohanthal its’ distinct grainy texture.
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the mix and stir well to incorporate. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture turns from a creamy beige colour to pinkish and caramel-like in colour. This should take 8-10 minutes depending on the flame. Soon as the mixture becomes a light pinkish colour, switch the heat off. Continue to stir for a further five minutes to temper the residual heat. The mixture will be extremely hot and it will continue to cook even after you switch the heat off.
- To prepare up the sugar syrup, place the sugar in a large pan. Add the water and stir to combine. Once the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved completely, turn off the flame. To the cooled chickpea flour and milk powder mixture, add ground cardamom, saffron, mace and optional orange food colour. Stir well to incorporate. It should now be cool or just room temperature.
- Very carefully, pour the hot sugar syrup into the chickpea flour mixture. Slowly begin the stir the mixture using a wooden spoon.
- After 2-3 minutes of stirring, it will become shiny to look at. Set it in a greased thali and cut out shapes from the set Mohanthal and serve.
Recipe- 3] KESARI MITHAI KI BAARI
Yellow/white pumpkin- 350-400 gms, peeled and grated
Milk- 200 ml
Grain sugar- 5-7 tbsp.
Condensed milk- ¼ cup
Mava- ½ cup grated
Green cardamom powder-1/4 tsp
Ghee- 2-3 tsp.
Raisins- 2-3 tsp chopped
Cashews- 2-3 tsp
- Prepare all the ingredients for the pumpkin burfi recipe.
- Heat ghee in a kadai add grated pumpkin and stir it well for few minutes till the raw smell goes away.
- Then add milk mix well, simmer and cover and cook on slow flame until it thickens, keep stirring in between to prevent sticking at the sides or at the base.
- Now add in the green cardamom powder, grain sugar, condensed milk, grated mava and mix well, continue cooking the burfi mixture for another 2-3 mins, transfer this mixture into a greased tray, garnish with nuts, cool it and cut them into your desired shape and serve warm/chilled.